Thursday, December 20, 2018

Advent Words: U is for Unto

U is for Unto

"For to us a child is born,
  to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

    and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this."  Isaiah 9:6-7

Unto us a child is born...a son is given...He shall be called:

Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace

Isaiah looked far into the future to a time when a child would be born who would be king forevermore. Charles Wesley captured Israel's hope for the promised birth of the One who would be Israel's hope and consolation in his Advent hymn Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. In this hymn Wesley brought together the Old Testament promise of the Messiah and the New Testament story of a baby who was also a king and "the hope of all the earth".

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free; 
from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee. 

Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art; 
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart. 

Born Thy people to deliver, born a child, and yet a King, 
born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring. 

By Thine own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone; 
by Thine own sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne. 

There is a repetition throughout this hymn which highlights the purpose and mission of this promised baby-king. Throughout this song the word “born” reveals the purpose of the incarnation of Jesus: 
Born to set thy people free… 
Born thy people to deliver, 
Born a child, and yet a king, 
Born to reign in us forever… 

In Matthew's Gospel we are told this Messiah, this King who would rule “with Justice and righteousness”, was found in Bethlehem: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2 

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus came “to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6) The Israelites expected a Messiah who would free them from slavery, bondage and oppression. 

But God had a greater plan; The Messiah would free men from the bondage of sin and death. “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” Hebrews 9:15 

Paul explains this even more in Galatians: “So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:3-7 

Jesus Christ, The Messiah, would also fulfill the promise of the New Covenant: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” Ezekiel 36:26-28 

In Christ this promise extends beyond the Israelites to include the Gentiles: “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:25-27 

Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the King of glory was born “to reign in us forever.” This hymn connects us personally to the joy of the season. Unto us a child is born and He shall be called our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. In Christ we experience freedom from fear and sin, we find our rest in Him, He is our strength and consolation, our hope and our joy.

Share your creative response to the Advent Words challenge in our private Facebook group  Join here:

If you belong to the Everyday Journal group that I co-lead with Valerie Sjodin and Bernice Hopper, Advent Words will be our theme for December.

Share on Instagram and other social media with the hashtag #adventwords2018.

Check out my Pinterest board for this challenge and see some of the wonderful and diverse creativity of Advent Words 2018 participants.

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